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Child welfare changes vetoed

Published (5/30/2008)
By Patty Ostberg
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Changes to child welfare statutes, adoption definitions and criminal background checks were vetoed by the governor.

Sponsored by Rep. Neva Walker (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Patricia Torres Ray (DFL-Mpls), the bill would have:

• created a definition of adult adoption;

• standardized requirements for an adopted child’s social and medical history and clarified who could receive a copy of that history;

• allowed counties to search the Minnesota Fathers’ Adoption Registry;

• allowed the Health Department to directly exchange information with county agencies or private adoption agencies rather than having to go through the Human Services Department;

• amended statues regarding the Interstate Compact for Placement of Children to be consistent with nationwide standards;

• clarified that when an agency removes a child from their home, they must have a voluntary placement in effect or a court order;

• made “child abuse” definitions consistent with the Maltreatment of Minors Act;

• clarified that county social service agencies have the authority to access to criminal history background checks when finding if a home is suitable for placement;

• required administrative review of a child in voluntary foster care for treatment; and

• changed the disqualification from direct contact with a foster child specifying that an arrest record, police report, or criminal complaint does not qualify as “clear and convincing” evidence.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty said the bill would weaken previous changes to criminal background checks, and the changes would “require the agency to allow individuals, for whom there is significant and credible evidence of serious criminal conduct, to work with children and other vulnerable individuals.”


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